Understanding Child And Spousal Support Guidelines
One of the most challenging parts of divorce is the monetary upheaval it places on both spouses. At my firm, Lana Weiss Attorney at Law, I focus on reducing the stress on my clients who are in the midst of a divorce. This includes explaining what they can expect if they request or receive a request for child and/or spousal support. While I encourage negotiating fair support terms outside of court, I am prepared to make the case for your financial needs if your case proceeds to litigation.
Important Child Support Basics To Know
Child support is determined by several key factors: including how much each parent makes in net income and the amount of time they spend with the child as part of the custody/co-parenting part of the divorce agreement. The state of California has a standard calculator that is used to determine the amount for each parent; I often help clients walk through the steps in the calculator to determine an accurate amount. Once a support amount is established, it is possible to have it modified if circumstances for either parent change.
If one spouse falls behind or stops paying child support, they are “in arrears.” Penalties for non-payment of child support in California can be stringent. It is important to confront an arrearage, whether you are the parent who has fallen behind in payments or the one waiting for badly needed funds to support your children’s needs. I can help you file for a contempt order if your ex has stopped making child support payments. If you are struggling to pay your support, I can represent you and ensure your payment amount is fair, given your current circumstances. If the case has been entered into the California Child Support Services system, I can work with representatives from agency at any stage of the process.
How Are Spousal Support Requests Evaluated?
Unlike the child support requests, requests for spousal support are not determined using a specific formula. Instead, judges consider a variety of factors to allocate spousal support, including:
- The length of the marriage
- Health and age of both spouses
- Income sources available to each spouse
- Potential for the lower-earning spouse to become self-sufficient economically
Temporary spousal support orders have a specified time limit. Permanent (ongoing) spousal support is sometimes ordered for spouses who were in a marriage lasting more than 10 years who require assistance to maintain a consistent post-divorce lifestyle and meet their basic needs.